LET THE COUNTDOWN BEGIN
The All-New Land Rover Defender Should Debut in September
The all-new 2020 Land Rover Defender may be the most anticipated new car launch of 2019. Jaguar Land Rover has let us know the new version will be coming to America. We’ve seen the camouflaged spy shots and the official camouflaged spy shots. And now, we now have an official approximate release date: September 2019.
Jaguar Land Rover PR head Tim Krieger told Australia’s Car Advice the plan, not yet finalized, is to launch the new Defender “around September.” The company reportedly intends to unveil the SUV either at the Frankfurt Motor Show or a separate event. Customer deliveries to Australia—and presumably everywhere else in the world that’s scheduled to get the new off-roader—will then begin in early 2020.
Land Rover retired the original Defender in 2016 after a 67-year production run, in large part due to looming new European emissions standards that would make selling the old model more difficult. The US market, however, hasn’t been able to buy new Defenders for far longer—the carmaker stopped bringing them here in 1997. In large part as a result, imported models, well-maintained early versions, and resto-modded Defenders have become incredibly popular (and pricey) in America, often fetching six-figure price tags.
Pent-up demand in the US market isn’t the only reason the new vehicle’s launch is so hotly anticipated, even among those who don’t consider themselves Defender heads; there’s also the sheer scale of Land Rover’s challenge. The Defender has always been the ultimate body-on-frame throwback SUV—a nostalgic vehicle whose eccentricities helped fueled the demand for it. In order to succeed in the present-day landscape, Land Rover must reimagine the Defender as a modern, unibody construction without sacrificing charm or capability. A vehicle that originated as a humble agricultural tool must now become a genuine luxury car as well.
To add to the pressure: With recent financial difficulties mounting, Jaguar Land Rover needs the new Defender to be a rousing success more than ever. Can they do justice to the name? It seems we’ll find out in September.